Published on December 3, 2012 by Casey
Many people are under the mistaken impression that crows were viewed as harbingers of death in Native American cultures, but in fact, that is not true at all. We do not know of any Native American tribe in which crows were seen as omens of death. Indeed, just the opposite, seeing a crow was (and still is!) considered good luck by many tribes. It is true that crows will eat carrion, but so do many other animals not typically associated with the dead such as bald eagles, bears, etc. In Native American folklore, the intelligence of crows is usually portrayed as their most important feature. In some tribes, the crow is conflated with the raven, a larger cousin of the crow that shares many of the same characteristics. In other tribes, Crow and Raven are distinct mythological characters.
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Crows are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Crow Clans include the Chippewa (whose Crow Clan and its totem are called Aandeg), the Hopi (whose Crow Clan is called Angwusngyam or Ungwish-wungwa), the Menominee, the Caddo, the Tlingit, and the Pueblo tribes of New Mexico.